At least 76 dead in Chile earthquake - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

At least 76 dead in Chile earthquake

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) - Chile's government says 76 people are confirmed dead in a giant earthquake that has collapsed buildings and set off a tsunami. The earthquake struck early Saturday.

The death toll comes from the deputy interior minister, Patricio Rosende. His boss, Edmundo Perez Yoma says: "the death toll will continue rising."

The magnitude-8.8 earthquake has caused a huge wave that reached a populated area in the Robinson Crusoe Islands off the Chilean coast.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says the earthquake in Chile has generated a tsunami that could cause damage along coastlines of all islands in the Hawaii.

The first waves are expected to reach Hawaii at 11:19 a.m. Hawaii time (4:19 p.m. EST).

The center's director is calling for "urgent action to protect lives and property" in Hawaii.

He says he doesn't know how big the waves will be, but he expects them to be the largest to hit Hawaii since 1964.

But he says there should be enough time to alert everyone in harm's way to get to safety.

The advisory for California and Alaska is the agency's lowest-level alert.

Tsunami warnings are in effect over a wide area, including South America, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand, Japan, the Philippines, Russia and many Pacific islands.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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